Leader Profile: Global Vision
The Leadership Challenge
Hammes believes she was chosen as publisher because of her journalism background, "reverence for this content" and focus on innovation. "I think I've made it clear that I would become bored in this job quickly if I were not able to innovate through technology, through packaging, through other platforms like events, and that's really what's going to let us continue to grow."
The goal, she says, is to "reinforce a revolution that's been happening the past couple of years" through ambitious editorial and platform expansion. With successful e-reader and digital editions, Foreign Affairs is at its highest paid circulation ever (175,000), and official ABC numbers are nearly back to 2008 pre-recession levels. The magazine saw a 22 percent increase in newsstand sales in the first half of 2012, and is test-marketing a cover price increase from $9.95 to $12.99. On the digital side, ForeignAffairs.com has seen a 26 percent increase in unique visitors and 23 percent increase in page views in 2012 (as of mid-November) compared to the same period in 2011.
"Like all publishers," she says, "we have the burden of investment on the technology side, and without agility and energy and a kind of start-up attitude you cannot possibly sustain that pace."
Innovation, however, must come with an understanding of the brand and its unique value to readers. Hammes therefore seeks to expand readership with an eye to the magazine's core mission.
"The magazine for many years has made an impact. My goal is to continue that," Hammes says. "Not just to resound in the beltway and in Congress ... but to expand that impact in an educational way. Not just having a magazine that's read in international relations 101—which it is—but [in] continuing education, filling a void in discourse in a way that there is a hunger for and a need for. And if I can support that through a sustainable business model that allows us to grow …."